Waste Not Want Not

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Two companies that appear to have little in common have joined forces to build processing plants that will convert biomass to energy and create organic fertilizer at the same time. The plants will burn the waste to produce steam that can power electric generators. The leftover residue can be sold as fertilizer.

The partners are DukeSolutions, one of the fast States, and Harmony Products, which specializes in the development and manufacture of fertilizer. Their joint venture was planned to make productive use of the waste stream from large Virginia poultry farms located in the Chesapeake watershed.

The plants will process 100,000 tons of litter annually, which will produce enough energy to heat 15,000 homes. The resulting organic fertilizer will increase crop yields, which will in turn feed the animals whose wastes are then gasified to produce energyÃ?and of course more fertilizer.

Other advantages include reduced runoff into nearby lakes and streams from the huge poultry producers. And, the gasification technology used to turn waste into energy virtually eliminates emissions.

One processing plant is currently under construction in Harrisonburg, Va., and three others are in the planning stages. Eventually, DukeSolutions and Harmony plan to run 200 processing plants worldwide. They are already working on adaptations that will allow the plants to use other animal waste as well as industrial wastewater sludge. These waste-to-energy systems will provide a string of environmental benefits including clean, efficient energy, reduction in agricultural runoff, and organic fertilizers.

Environmental News Service
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Linda is responsible for the PERC web sites, media relations, the national journalism conference, and the media fellows program. She is author of Forest Fires, part of a series of  environmental education books for high school students. She also wrote and produced Square One, a newsletter that introduced grassroots environmentalists to market...
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